Nature of project: software, data analysis
Available to students on full-time physics degree schemes or joint students.
Transient phenomena captured in video files (or image sequences) are commonly studied by physicists and other scientists. Extracting information from these sequences can be challenging and is always time-consuming. The project focuses on automatic identification and parametrisation of the properties of sunspots.
The dynamics of sunspots, and in particular their evolution, are linked to the complexities of the Sun's magnetic field. On a global scale, the number and relative position of sunspots are used to estimate the Sun's medium-term future activity. At a more local level, the interplay of clusters of sunspots may correlate to eruptive solar atmospheric events.
The objective is to write software that analyses the image sequences to identify sunspots, quantify properties (at the very least, position) and track those properties for each sunspot through the image sequence.
Data would be acquired from online sources.
A successful project will develop beyond the above in one/some of the following directions:
Is it possible to extrapolate from the observed properties to correctly identify an entity that was hidden for part of the image sequence, such as a sunspot rotating to and from the far side of the Sun?
Can the software identify and map the relative positions of clusters of sunspots over time?
Do any of the features of the extracted data correlate to eruptive events?
When considering where to take your project, please bear in mind the time available. It is preferable to do fewer things well than to try many and not get conclusive results on any of them. However, sometimes it is useful to have a couple of strands of investigation in parallel to work on in case delays occur.
Additional scope or challenge if taken as a Year-4 project: Additional properties of the tracked entities would need to include parametrisation of the shape of the sunspots, and using that to analyse the area and/or rotation of the entities.
Please speak to Tom Knight if you consider doing this project.
Initial literature for students:
Programming heavy project. Previous python (or other object orientated language) experience would be useful though not necessary.
Difficulty is dependent on the student's pace through the project and the chosen application.
|milestone||to be completed by|
|Familiarity with python and external libraries||end of October|
|Simple application of library to simplified example image/image sequence||end of November|
|Position (and other properties?) extraction||end of February|
|Analysis of Parameters and/or Refinement of extraction||Easter|